In memory theory, the functioning of memory discourses in the public sphere is often referred to using Aleida and Jan Assmann’s terminology of cultural and collective, or communicative, memory. In these concepts, cultural memory describes past representations and their functioning in fixed cultural forms and practices, while collective memory is the transmission by means of informal communication of important memories by different generations that are living now within a society or social group (Assmann 2008: 117). However, in modern societies the distinction and interaction between these levels is complicated by the fact that both communicative and individual memory are often articulated and transmitted in fixed forms of modern communication and these two levels often appear intertwined in a complex reciprocal interplay (Assmann, 2006: 214).
The idiosyncrasy of family memory is that it has an intergenerational perspective of that memory. With the communication of memory, memory (re)construction takes place based on the incorporation of the past into the family memory repository. Mobility changes the patterns of communication; it affects the perception of the family (‘we’) and feelings of solidarity and transforms the composition of family influences and the multi-layered nature of memory, so that memory requires the renewal of information.
Analysing the memories of families is important because it allows the identification of the ways in which family memory is constructed, by examining both communication channels and the content of communication. Memory construction requires two components: information channels and the content of the communicated information. This chapter presents data from a representative survey of Lithuanian residents. Empirical data reveal how the operationalisation of family memory communication channels takes place and which contexts of memory communication dominate. Memory’s communicative content consists of the historical context, revision of the family network, revision of the content of family togetherness, and revision of the content of common information.